OpenAI unleashes GPT-4, SVB files for bankruptcy, and a PE firm acquires Pornhub

OpenAI unleashes GPT-4, SVB files for bankruptcy, and a PE firm acquires Pornhub

Welcome to Week in Review, folks, TechCrunch’s regular recap of the week in tech. GPT-4, OpenAI’s text- and image-understanding AI, may have dominated the headlines over the past few days. But fresh drama also emerged around the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank.

We cover all that and more in this edition, so grab a coffee and settle in.

quick note, TechCrunch Early Stage 2023 is fast approaching. It hits Boston on April 20 and will feature three concurrent tracks of founder-forward workshops, case studies and deep dives with tech entrepreneurship experts. Below the line, mark your calendar for TechCrunch Disrupt 2023, which will take place in San Francisco on September 19– 21. As always, it will be filled with roundtables, firesides, Q&As and showcases from luminaries in their fields. You don’t want to miss it.

Now, on to the news.

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OpenAI debuts GPT-4: After much anticipation, OpenAI, the AI ​​startup with major backing from Microsoft, has released a powerful new AI model called GPT-4. GPT-4 can generate text and accept image and text inputs — an improvement over its predecessor, which accepted only text — and performs at “human level” in various benchmarks. But GPT-4 is not perfect. Like most other generative text AI, the model “hallucinates” facts and makes reasoning errors – sometimes with great confidence.

Microsoft is all-in on AI: Using the latest tech from OpenAI, including GPT-4, Microsoft has rolled out new AI-powered features across its suite of productivity tools under the Copilot brand. Copilot handles different tasks depending on the app it’s used in. For example, in Word, Copilot writes, edits, summarizes and composes text; in PowerPoint and Excel, Copilot turns natural language commands into designed presentations and data visualizations; and with Power Apps, Copilot helps refine ideas for low-code software.

SVB file for bankruptcy: A week later trading stopped for SVB Financial and after regulators took control of the holding company for Silicon Valley Bank and other subsidiaries, SVB Financial took the next inevitable step. On Friday, the bank announced that it formally filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the US Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York. This means that SVB Financial can apply — and plans to apply — to the courts to continue activities while looking for buyers for its assets, which includes continuing its plan to sell SVB Securities and SVB Capital .

Google Glass says goodbye: Google Glass, Google’s misunderstood piece of AR tech, is no more. Google announced this week that it will stop selling the final incarnation of Glass, Glass Enterprise Edition, on March 15 (but will continue to support existing customers until September 15). Readers will recall that Glass, which celebrated its tenth anniversary last month, never gained traction, becoming the subject of derision and jokes even after a pivot in focus from consumer to enterprise.

YouTube TV is getting expensive: In a move sure to annoy cord cutters, YouTube has announced that it is raising the price of its YouTube TV subscription to $72.99 per month — an $8 increase from the current $64.99 monthly fee. The Google-owned company blames rising “content costs” for the change. (Perhaps not coincidentally, YouTube TV recently announced a streaming deal together NFL Sunday Ticketswhich is reportedly worth $2 billion per season.)

By getting Citymapper: Beginning of transportation Throughwhich was raised recently $110 million out of $3.5 billion appreciation, was usurped Citymapper, the London startup that makes the popular urban mapping app of the same name. Originally making a name for himself as a alternative to apps like Google Maps for consumers planning trips to metropolitan areas using public transportation, Citymapper may not have really capitalized on its momentum and early promise.

Baidu’s rival ChatGPT flashed: In other AI news this week, Ernie Bot, the Chinese search giant Baidu’s answer to ChatGPT, has suffered. TechCrunch wasn’t able to test this, but industry observers inside and outside of China have pointed to the fact that instead of presenting Ernie through a live demo, Baidu opted for a long presentation with pre-recordings of Ernie’s answers. The company’s shares fell as much as 10% in Hong Kong following Li’s presentation.

Pornhub meets private equity: MindGeek — owner of several adult entertainment sites, including Pornhub, Brazzers and Redtube — is got of a Canadian private equity firm, Ethical Capital Partners (ECP). The acquisition follows a rocky few years for the porn giant. MindGeek CEO Feras Antoon and COO David Tassillo will both leave the company in June 2022. MindGeek is also currently in the midst of plural lawsuits claiming it knowingly profited from child sexual abuse material.

Dish customers in the dark: Dish customers are still searching for answers two weeks after a ransomware attack hit the US satellite television giant. In a public filing published on February 28, Dish confirmed that ransomware was to blame for an ongoing outage and warned that hackers had exfiltrated data, which “may” include personal information of customers, from its systems. But Dish hasn’t provided a substantive update since then, despite customers continuing to experience issues — and not knowing if their personal data was at risk.


The solid quality of TechCrunch’s podcasts grows every time. (Rejoice, those with long drives.) This week Equity, Alex and Natasha discusses the M&A spree that acquired Qualtrics, Cvent, and Mint Mobile, as well as the subsequent collapse of SVB, GPT-4 and why Y Combinator is pulling back from the final stage. Beyond FoundMeanwhile, Amanda and Darrell spoke with Teddy Solomon, the co-founder of Fizz, a social media app aimed at college students focused on building a campus community. The interview touched on what Gen Z is looking for in their social media, how to thoroughly moderate a platform like Fizz and how this type of community building can go beyond colleges.


TC+ subscribers have access to in-depth commentary, reviews and surveys — which you already know if you’re a subscriber. If you don’t, consider signing up. Here are some highlights from this week:

Rethinking points of failure: Natasha M writes about how, in light of SVB’s collapse, perhaps the founders should rethink entrusting someone to lead their business to success. He polled several early-stage founders who are building companies that have raised a Series A or less to understand how they think about succession. The consensus is that it’s not top of mind, or even top of the list, in a world where founders are more focused on runway, product-market fit and growth.

Strange things happen in Unearthly Materials: Tim reports on Unearthly Materials, a startup that claims to have big-name investors behind its technology that could lead to a superconductor breakthrough. But as it turns out, those investors aren’t all on board, especially given Unearthly Materials’ questionable track record.

Good news for software companies: Depressed from this week in the news? Alex writes that it is not all doom and gloom. Some software companies are performing well during the broader tech industry crash — at least, if their earnings reports are anything to go by.